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If growing your own cannabis buds is something you want to get into, read this informative article for an idea of where to start. We've broken down the most important topics into easily consumable information so you won't feel overwhelmed.
But, let’s be clear right off the bat: this isn’t a grower’s guide. Rather, it’s more of an overview of the fundamentals, and should address any questions you may have about growing your own home stash. By the end of this article, you should have enough knowledge to give your mum a lecture on the basics of growing cannabis. Most importantly, it should help you on your very own cultivation venture.
Some people grow their stash to take the edge off after a long day. Some want to save money and desire easy access to the herb.
Regardless of the reason, growing cannabis can be an interesting and exciting endeavour because you don’t need a lot to get the venture going. You will, however, need to educate yourself with vital pieces of information like strains and growing methods, which you will learn more about in the coming sections.
Most importantly, you must treat it just like any other plant. That means giving it the right amount of attention and tender loving care.
Just like any other living thing on this green Earth, not all cannabis strains are the same. Each one varies in the speed of growth, odour, yield, size, resilience, and cannabinoid/terpene content.
Furthermore, one major difference lies in the sex of cannabis plants. To make this conversation easier, you'll most likely want to grow female plants as they’re the ones that produce resinous buds. And, to ensure that, you’ll want to source feminized seeds—that is, seeds that have been engineered to develop into exclusively female plants. Regular seeds, on the other hand, have a 50% chance of becoming male or female.
Another factor you’ll want to consider is the difference between autoflowering and photoperiod strains. “Autoflowering” means plants will begin flowering on their own within two to four weeks after germination.
Photoperiod varieties, on the other hand, need 12 hours of darkness per day to induce and sustain flowering indoors. They also take longer to grow in general, as there is no set vegetative period.
Growing cannabis is essentially cultivating a life. You need to give it your full attention and not skimp on providing it with the care and nutrients it needs to blossom into a healthy, thriving plant.
Just like any other plant, here are the four essential elements needed to grow quality cannabis:
Let’s get a bit scientific for a moment. Plants need both oxygen and carbon dioxide for respiration and to make food and sugars, respectively.
If you choose to grow outdoors, you have nothing much to worry about since fresh air is abundant. But, if you’re growing your stash indoors, you’ll need proper circulation to allow the plants to breathe naturally.
But that’s nothing that an adequate ventilation system can’t fix. If you’re on a budget, you can pull it off with strategically placed fans. If you have the monetary resources, it’ll be best to invest in a more elaborate ventilation system.
Plants depend on light to spur healthy growth through the process of photosynthesis. In the case of cannabis plants, the more light exposure they get, the more buds they develop.
Like how it is with getting fresh air, cannabis plants can get all the light they need when grown outdoors. But, for indoor growing, you’ll want to cover 400–600 watts (or more) per square metre.
Another factor you should look out for when growing indoors are high temperatures. Some types of lights, especially HIDs, tend to run hot, and can compromise your buds if they are too close to the canopy or too strong in general.
Water is the lifeblood of every living organism on Earth. Cannabis plants are quite a rare exception because they can survive if you skimp on their water supply. However, there’s a good chance for it to die if you give it too much.
The best way to make sure you’re giving your plants the correct amount of water is to wait until the substrate dries out. If you lift up your plant containers and find them to be comparatively light, it’s probably time for a soak. In any case, don’t water again until the top inch or so of soil is completely dry.
As for the preferred watering method, bottom-feeding is arguably best for cannabis plants. It involves placing the pots into trays of water to allow the roots to absorb the right amount of water/nutrient solution into the soil.
This process also enables the roots to grow further downwards, which will benefit plants in the long-run. With enough fresh air, water, and sunlight, your plants can carry out photosynthesis to speed up their growth.
Providing nutrients to your cannabis plants is essentially you feeding them. These base nutrients are usually incorporated into the soil from the get-go, or are mixed into a solution and administered that way.
There’s a lot of science involved in the process of administering nutrients, but we’ll save that for another time. A great option is to use complete feeding solutions.
We briefly touched on the growing speed of autoflowering strains, but in terms of the length of time required before harvesting, most strains need at least three months.
Now, if you want to know how long it’ll take before your buds become smokable, just add another three weeks to cover drying (a week) and curing (at least two weeks).
To give you a better picture of the growing process, you’ll need to understand the two main stages of the cannabis plant life cycle: vegetation and flowering. Here’s an explanation in a nutshell:
When planning to cultivate cannabis, you’re usually given two choices: indoor or outdoor growing.
We’ve previously touched on some of the differences between the two in an earlier section, but here it is in a nutshell: with artificial lighting, a grow tent, soil, nutrients, gardening tools, and— potentially—hydroponics equipment, indoor growing is usually a lot pricier.
Still, let’s take a deeper dive into what equipment you’ll need for each environment.
This might seem obvious to some, but it is still a valid question nonetheless.
Here’s the simple answer: the buds are the only smokable part of the cannabis plant. However, these buds need to undergo a drying and curing process before you can get a real kick from them.
And, as we mentioned in an earlier section of this piece, only female plants grow smokable buds, so it really is essential to source feminized seeds if this is your goal.
Hopefully, this article was able to provide you with sufficient information about the basics of growing cannabis. If this is something you see yourself doing in the near future, you can refer back to this piece as a checklist for all the stuff you need to remember.
But, if you’re ready to get started and move on to the next steps , you can go ahead and do so!
May you have a fruitful growing venture ahead!
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